Kristen Johnston is well-known for her work creating SLAM NYC and her advocacy for addiction recovery. She set an example to the public with this message: “Making any dream a reality is to never, ever, ever give up.” On March 23, she announced that her eight-year campaign, Sobriety, Learning, and Motivation (SLAM), would move forward to partner with a Lavelle prep school from Staten Island, New York, which would pave way to make long-lasting changes considering the program’s recovery-focused initiative and stance against substance abuse among teens.
SLAM NYC: Mission for Recovery-Based Schools
The leading recovery advocate for SLAM NYC who has remained sober herself, Kristen Johnston has continued to be empathetic toward the devastation that drug addiction leaves in society. “Addiction is our black plague,” Johnston shared. “Addiction is an epidemic that kills hundreds a day, many of them children. This is a disease that doesn’t just destroy the lives of those suffering from addiction. There’s also a terrible toll on those who love those suffering. As a society, we can no longer afford to bury our heads in the sand, hoping if we ignore it, addiction will just go away. We must change how we navigate every element of this disease, and we must do this now.”
Johnston grasps the problem of addiction and wants to work on treating the core issue through programs like SLAM NYC. She believes that’s the most effective way to approach it. She knows that tackling addiction when and where it starts, means raising awareness before the disease progresses. SLAM NYC is an effort, also founded with Thom Krauss and Joe Schrank, that acts as a solution. It addresses the root of the problem where it originates.
Beliefs of SLAM NYC
Not only does SLAM NYC set out to help struggling individuals who are having a hard time battling a drug problem, but the program reaches out to parents who are combating a substance issue as well. Schranks, who is sober himself and is also the leading addiction specialist and front-liner of mainstream recovery web site, The Fix, claimed over 11 million kids grow up in a household where the parent uses substances. This is why reaching out through SLAM NYC to children of addicts is just as necessary as helping students who are struggling with substance disorders.
Benefits of recovery-focused schools
A recovery-focused school system through SLAM NYC allows students to get an education in a healthy environment without being endangered or having counterproductive consequences regarding substance abuse. Dr. Scott Beinenfeld, a psychiatrist in the addiction field who works with SLAM NYC, concurred. “It is essential to begin to address the disease of substance abuse as soon as possible. At 20, 25 years old…it’s too late. Not for sobriety, of course. But too late to stop the terrible negative toll addiction will take on their lives, and ours, for years to come,” says Dr. Beinenfeld. Johnston pointed out it’s likely that those who begin abusing substances before they reach age 21 are “FIVE times more likely to develop long term addictions,” which shows great incentive for the needed change. SLAM NYC provides not just a sober environment, but additional life skills for students because they are at such a risk.
Johnston emphasized on a personal note, “I know that no matter what else happens in my life, no matter how difficult it is to have people question your character or sobriety….none of it matters.” When a stand-up recovery advocate like Kristen Johnston can be passionate about sobriety and push forward with their goals, they surely find that striving for what they believe in, can make a difference after all.
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